Learning Journey in China 2015

The Journey Continues!

In the summer of 2015, we were invited by the Pingxiang City Spirituality and Civilization Office. to conduct our program in Pingxiang, Jiangxi province. Notably different in setting and climate from Hainan, for those of us that had been part of the 2014 venture, this proved to be quite an adjustment! Pingxiang is situated directly east of China’s famous Hunan province in southeastern mainland China. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, Pingxiang is a much larger and more developed city than Wanning, our previous destination. Despite its size, it still measures up as relatively small compared to China’s more developed cities, and many of its people are still quite unaccustomed to foreign faces.

This past summer, we had a much larger group of students to work with for our two ten-day program periods (almost 300 students!). Most students were actually able to spend time with each of the teachers in the classroom setting at least once, since teachers moved around from class to class to teach different topics. Some of the topics focused upon were money, food, comedy and humor, theme parks, and music. Students were not only able to experience a range of different topics that allowed for exploration of different cultures, but also experienced varied teaching styles and accents from our multinational team of teachers.

We ran a speaking assessment with our students for the first time in this program, before and after each session. Using a modified IELTS test, which measures speaking ability on a 9-point scale, we found that most students improved by 0.5 to 1 whole point after spending 10 days in the classroom with us. For such a short time, this is quite an impressive margin of improvement. Apart from quantitative results however, the same inspiring results we viewed in our first year seemed to resurface in our new location, and many students felt strongly about how positive and enriching the opportunity was for them.

We also had the exciting chance to capture the program in a way that allows for a far greater understanding to those who weren’t able to join us; we were able to bring a fully equipped film crew over with us for the six weeks! We’ve already been able to put out some great videos from the program period, be sure to check them out on our website!

Photos, Videos & More!

2015 Participants

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.33.33 AMAnnie Kim
Temple University
2015 English Teacher
“It’s something that’s so empowering to be able to speak and communicate in another language, and the process of learning another language is something that’s really beautiful and really helps to build your confidence as a person in general, not specifically just in learning that language. What we’re doing really, really transcends just teaching English and just building confidence in speaking a language.”
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.41.13 AMLi Jingjiang (Jason)
Nanjing University
2015 English Teacher
“The program can greatly improve the confidence of students when speaking English. This is the most important thing because, as long as they can make jokes and have fun with a foreigner they have never met before, this is a very big step for them. Their English no longer exists only in the textbook.”
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.29.39 AMJack Greatrex
Cambridge University
2015 English Teacher
“As much as anything, it’s a chance to just have really great experiences; you make friends with so many of the students. It’s not like teaching normally, so, all the students respond much better to you than they would to you if you were just teaching them from a textbook. It’s really great having lessons where everyone is friends, and everyone is having fun.”
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 11.38.52 AMLiu Manyun (Melody)
PhD, Linguistics
2015 English Teacher
“I think for most of the students, maybe more than 90% I mean, most of them haven’t had this kind of experience before. Especially for those in less developed areas, you can kind of feel like they were less confident than those from the city areas. I think they have never seen any foreign people before this program, those kids, so they are really having some horizon broadening experiences here.”

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